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Parco Archeologico di Baratti
Photo ©Flavia Cori

Museums by the sea: art and archaeology

More than sunbathing

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One of the best qualities of Tuscany is its ability to combine natural beauty with a centuries-long culinary culture, artistic excellence and varied cultural offerings. This is what makes it the perfect place for a holiday. From Carrara to the Argentario, the region offers numerous 'places of culture' like museums and archeological sites, as well as curious collections such as the Doll Museum in Suvereto and the Casa Rossa Ximenes in Castiglione della Pescaia which, after an interactive visit, offers two hours in a boat chasing aquatic birds in their lagoon habitat.

Moreover, Tuscany is scattered with large and small museums where vacationers can dedicate a few hours during their stay. Places like Villa Napoleone on Elba Island or the Archeological Park of Baratti-Populonia are perfect ways to get your fill of culture, history and art during a beach holiday. From the Carrara Quarries Museum, which relates 2000 years of history through documents, instruments and cutting machines to the Apuane Botanical Gardens, with every species and variety of plant in our Alps, as well as Orbetello, with terracotta reliefs of the Etruscan front of Talamone (4th century BCE) with the myth of the Seven at Tebe, to the Lagoon Aquarium and the Albinia Farming Culture Museum.
 
Now, let's take a look at some of these beautiful museums!
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Isola del Giglio
Mineralogy and Geology Museum
: this project aims to support and uphold the island’s geo-mineralogical resources . Visitors can see extremely rare tabular galena crystals, large black tourmaline crystals and tetrahedral crystals. Don’t miss seeing photographs of the mineralogical sites.
 
Carrara
The Museum of Marble: it is home to the city’s history, where the culture of marble is preserved and promoted not only through its rich permanent collection, but also with conferences, temporary exhibitions and sculpture symposiums.
 
Massarosa
Archaelogical Area of Massarosa: Massaciuccoli Romana is a splendid archeological area on the banks of Lake Massaciuccoli and includes the villa, the building with the mosaic and the museum.
Carnival Museum
Carnival Museum - Credit: Simone Politi

Viareggio
Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art: one of the most interesting exhibition centers worldwide thanks to a rich permanent collection with more than 3,000 works of art coming mostly from private donations, in 1,600 square metres of exhibition space.


Carnival Museum: visitors can learn about the history of Viareggio Carnival, one of the most famous in Europe. They can also study the techniques used to make the enormous papier-mâché carnival floats.


Villa Puccini Museum: an interesting example of how the architecture and the concept of the "villa" itself was completely transformed in the period of Art Nouveau. This house belonged to the famous musician and composer Giacomo Puccini, and now hosts the Villa Puccini Museum.

Gasparri Museum
Gasparri Museum - Credit: C. D'Aliasi

Piombino

The Baratti and Populonia Archaeological Park extends between the Piombino promontory and the Gulf of Baratti, where Populonia was once located, a unique Etruscan city founded on the coast. Connected to it there's The Populonia Archaeological Museum that illustrates the history of Populonia from prehistory to the modern age, passing through the Etruscan and Roman periods. Visit also the Museum of the Castle and Medieval Ceramics and The Gasparri Etruscan Museum. The first showcases over 600 pieces of medieval ceramics, dating to the 13th century, and the latter keeps a range of relics taken from the necropolis and the surrounding seaside. It is the oldest museum of the town.

Rosignano Marittimo
Civic Archaeology Museum: visitors to the museum can trace the history of a vast area that stretches from the Livorno hills to the upper Cecina Valley. Emphasis is on man’s connection with his environment, economic activities (agriculture, livestock, forestry, hunting, fishing, stone masonry, ceramics and trade) and the local Roman villas and farms. 

Campiglia Marittima
Archaelogical Mines Park: in the heart of the Val di Cornia, the San Silvestro Archaeological Mines Park covers 450 hectares and contains unique examples of the mining and metallurgical cycle, from the Etruscan era to the present day. The routes for visiting encompass museums, mining tunnels, a Medieval village of miners and foundrymen founded around one thousand years ago (Rocca San Silvestro). 

Marciana
Civic Archaeological Museum: there you can see many fascinating archeological artifacts found on Elba Island. It includes a prehistoric section, an Etruscan section, an area dedicated to the documentation of the local use of granite and a section about the shipwrecks in the Procchio bay.

Villa dei Mulini
Villa dei Mulini - Credit: Konrad Jagodziński
Portoferraio
National Museum of Napoleonic Residences: Villa dei Mulini preserves antiques, décor and furniture from Napoleon’s time, as well as a part of the interesting library that the emperor. Napoleon chose Villa dei Mulini as his main residence because of its dominating position over the city.

Villa San Martino: another Napoleon's villa is San Martino, located in the town of San Martino, near Portoferraio, and was bought by the emperor in June 1814 to be his summer residence, but was left uninhabited since when he went back to France.
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Etruscans